Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

Ambassador which said : c You . . . dwell on what you call the limitation
of the British guarantee—to operate against Germany only—and alleged a.
number of reasons for such a limitation. Without entering fully into this
delicate matter, / must confess my inability to accept the version given in your
" What conclusion was one to draw from the official reply of 19th October,
1939;, Major Petherick's revelation, the objection of the Polish Ambassador,
and our Government's reluctance to publish tke secret protocol ? It was surely
—in spite of the gallant attempt of The Times to face, and out-stare the
facts—that the Soviet was mentioned, perhaps by name, in the protocol;
and that, while we did limit our commitments to Poland vis-a-vis Russia,
we did not shed all our obligations and remained bound to support Poland
should Stalin, in collaboration with Killer, seize or demand Polish territory.
" The known facts did not allow of any other interpretation, and it was
verified by the belated publication of the secret protocol. Yet the protocol
did not see the light of day until Britain*s Foreign Secretary had demons-
trated that he had not found time to acquaint himself with his country's
obligations. In the debate of 28th February, Major Petherick maintained
that the decisions of the Crimean Conference were a violation of the Anglor
Polish Agreement-cw??z-prQtocolj and he quoted verbatim Clause 3 of the
protocol with its explicit reference to 6 the undertakings mentioned in
Article 6 of the Agreement.' When Mr. Eden came to answer, he stated
that he had looked the matter up that day (a confession which, coming after
Yalta, invited bitter comment), and that Clause 3 of the protocol did not
refer to Article 6 of the Agreement but to Article 3. The Major was
infinitely polite. ' I am extremely sorry,' he rejoined, c but Clause 3 says
"undertakings mentioned in Article 6." Nothing could be more specific.'
The Foreign Secretary begged the hon. Gentleman's pardon, but insisted
that he had taken the trouble to look the matter up that very day. Mr. Eden
was, as it turned out, wrong, but his hearers could not yet be sure of that
fact. They were, however, given pointers. Twice he found it necessary
to say that he had consulted his legal advisers and that, in their judgment,
the protocol restricted the scope of the Agreement to German aggression—an
assurance which could only have worried his audience more. For the
Agreement was a model of clarity and the protocol, framed at the same time,
was presumably equally unequivocal. Why then the lawyers ?' Was their
function to find a loophole of escape from obligations grown distasteful ?
Mr. Eden confirmed the rising suspicions. ' I am quite confident,' he
began, realised that he was not confident at all, and switched to, c or at
least I am advised ... by my legal advisers ... * All in all, it was a sorry
" On the 5th April the protocol was published ... It was learnt from it
that the term * European Power * was explicitly restricted to Germany . . .
The provision made for the contingency of Russia's physically attacking, or
threatening the independence of, Poland—the pledge that Britain and
Poland would then ' consult together on the measures to be taken in common.9
. . . Britain was faithful to this last promise when she used her good offices
to bring about the Russo-Polish Pact of 1941, by which Russia gave up
her claim to eastern Poland. The reader will realise the heinous betrayal
of which this country's leaders were guilty when, at Yaltas they gave their
blessing to the Russian aggression of 1939, * consulting * with the Soviet
and not Poland * on the measures to be taken in common *—in order to make
permanent the work of Ribbentrop and Molotov. *A comparison of Clause
3 of the Protocol with Article 6 of the Agreement will bear out Major